This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A Gardener. We have no doubt, if you grow these from seed, you will raise both new and desirable varieties, but you should plant a dozen plants of opposite colors together in a bed; and next year cross impregnate them, and from that seed you may expect better flowers, than from what you buy in the seed stores.
If not already attended to, the seedlings may now be transplanted into borders for flowering next summer. A deep, rich soil will give strong plants and profusion of flowers. Few plants produce so striking an effect in masses as the hollyhock. The improved varieties are as large and double as dahlias, and the colors much superior, both in depth and variety. Violets, for winter flowers, may be transplanted into frames; the frames should be set in an elevated dry site, and the soil well broken up and pulverised. Lift the plants carefully, and press the soil firmly around them; finish, by giving a thorough watering and shade from sun for a few days; they will start to grow at once, if the frame is kept rather close for a week; afterwards, admit air gradually, and ultimately remove the glass altogether until frost.
Mignonette, in pots, should he thinned to four or five plants to a pot. Be careful in the application of water as the days shorten; they are liable to decay if too freely watered during odd, dull weather.
Alterations, such as making flowerbeds, repairing, or laying down box edgings, gravelling walks, etc., can be done much more advantageously now than in the spring; the soil is in good working condition, and it is generally a season of more leisure.
We dropped in a few days since to see our friend, Andrew Richardson, Esq., and examine his double Hollyhocks, and were greatly delighted with what we saw; in fact, our companion, Mr. Miller, got a little ecstatic. Mr. R has undoubtedly much the finest collection we ever saw, composed partly of importations and partly of seedlings. The following are some of the finest: Mrs. Blackwood, white; Wm. Hume, bright, glowing pink, the most splendid Hollyhock we ever saw; Tricolor, white, with crimson and purple stripe, and green edge; Shrubland Gem, yellow; Pourpre de Tyre, purple; Mrs. Ochre, yellow, with crimson center; Sir David Baird, purple; Captain Thompson, crimson and purple; Hon. Mrs. Ashley, pale pink; Beauty of Cheshunt, fine pink; Duchess of Sutherland, light pink; Beauty of Minden, splendid white; Cyrus, brilliant pink, and many others nearly as good. Among the seedlings the following are very fine, and, with two exceptions, equal to any of the above: Mrs. Richardson, bright pink; Carrie Saxton, dark purple; Debbie de Gray, bright pink; Lizzie, dark pink; Kate, bright rose; Minnie Miller, bright yellow: Peter B. Mead, beautiful claret. All these are full and of beautiful form, and abundant bloomers. They were grown in a large bed, and the effect was grand.
We could hardly help wishing that Mr. Richardson was a florist instead of an amateur, so that these splendid flowers might be widely distributed. Mr. R. has a great many other choice things, such as very fine Sweet Williams, Phloxes, Chrysanthemums, etc, many of them imported last spring. The Phloxes were small, and only just coming into flower. Of older plants in bloom, the best were Mademoiselle C. Fontaine, satin white with a clear pink eye, very beautiful; Purpurea superba, a very fine dark purple; Mademoiselle Albertini, white, with pink eye; Madame Fontaine, fine light purple; Mrs. Gillon, white, with pink eye. Mr. R. has also a very large and choice collection of Dahlias, as he should have, as he is esteemed here unapproachable as a Dahlia grower. He has also a large number of seedlings. He has a penchant for bedding, and plants Zinnias, Lupins, etc, in masses very effectively. We noticed some beautiful specimens of the Clematis, and measured flowers of the C. lanuginosa pallida eight and throe-quarter inches in diameter. We might fill a page with descriptions of other choice things, but our principal object was the Hollyhocks, and these we shall not Boon forget.
In the midst of so much that is enjoyable, our artist friend must pass life pleasantly.
The production of seedling varieties of the hollyhock has been very great during the past ten years, and at this time they equal, if they do not surpass, in beauty the dahlia. They are perfectly hardy, and can be left in the open border with impunity. Seeds of choice kinds sown early in the season in a hot-bed frame, and got ready for transplanting in May, will flower the same season; while divisions and cuttings from choice varieties already produced may now be made, and by giving them a slight start in a frame, will transplant and bloom finely, forming one of the cheapest and most effective background features for a flower garden imaginable. Make the ground deep and rich with abundance of well-rotted cowdung.
Deciduous Trees and Shrubs should be planted just as early in the season as the ground will work freely. Do not delay; for although many a tree succeeds when transplanted late in the season, should an unfavorable season occur, it will not grow as vigorously, and frequently gets so small a hold in the soil, that although alive at the commencement of winter, spring finds it without vitality sufficient to make a new growth.